Bucknum Replaces Foyt at Sonoma

Jeff Bucknum will replace AJ Foyt IV for this weekend's IRL road course race at at Sonoma

Bucknum Replaces Foyt at Sonoma

Bucknum, who earlier this season competed in two oval races for Dreyer and Reinbold Racing, will only replace Foyt for one race and will return to the seat for the race at the 1.5-mile Chicagoland Speedway oval on September 11.

Team owner AJ Foyt made the decision to drop his grandson for the race due to the lack of road course testing he had completed, and a chance phone call from Bucknum.

"Jeff Bucknum called last week offering to help Anthony out at the track," Foyt Sr said. "But I decided it would make more sense to put Jeff in the car. Jeff's familiar with the course, he's run there quite a bit in smaller cars and was an instructor there for a couple years.

"I think it'd would have been even harder for Anthony than St. Petersburg where we struggled. We didn't test with him at the IRL Open Test in April and I decided it wouldn't be fair to run him since everyone else has tested there. It's a tricky course.

"Also, Bucknum had done a half-day in a Dreyer & Reinbold car at the test there in April and impressed them. I'm looking forward to having him drive for me this weekend. I knew his Dad, Ronnie way back when and I never thought his son would be driving for me. It's a small world."

Foyt Sr would have been Bucknum's teammate in the 1966 24 Hours of Le Mans, but Foyt was seriously burned in a practice incident the week before at Milwaukee.

Bucknum said: "It feels like things have come full circle for my family because my dad and A.J. raced together in the Sixties. When I told my mom that I was driving for A.J., I think it brought back so many memories of my dad that it brought a tear to her eye and became really special for her, too.

"As far as driving at Infineon, my first-ever racing experience was the Skip Barber School there. I've driven quite a few races at Infineon so I'm real familiar with the track. With my knowledge of the track and A.J.'s experience in setting up Indy cars, I think we'll be able to get a good balance on the car and ultimately have a good weekend."

A.J. Foyt IV said he was relieved he won't have to race at what will be IRL's second ever race on a road course, and suggested the idea a month ago.

"At first he said no, but then I think he thought about it," said 21 year-old Foyt. "He didn't say anything about it until we came home from Pikes Peak. I'm actually relieved because it would have been hard to be competitive - I've never even seen the track. I'll learn a lot by watching and hearing the feedback between Jeff and the crew."

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